Should It Stay or Should It Go Now? Smartphones and Relational Health

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Abstract

Since introduced in the mid-2000s, smartphones have become widely used, particularly among young adults. With the ability to connect to others across numerous modalities and occupy one’s time, these devices have become personal extensions for many people. However, recent research suggests that young people are particularly likely to find these devices indispensable, even to the point of feeling that they cannot live without them. The current study tests whether smartphone use and smartphone dependency affects the health of romantic relationships among college-aged adults. Participants were asked to report on their own smartphone use and dependency as well as the perceived use and dependency of their partner. Results reveal that participants’ smartphone dependency is significantly linked to relationship uncertainty, while partners’ perceived smartphone dependency predicts less relationship satisfaction. Moreover, results suggest that smartphone use, in general, does not affect relational health. Thus, it appears that it is the psychological reliance on these devices, and one’s need to constantly be connected with his or her smartphone, that potentially affects relationships and not actual use.

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